by Susan Harris
By now I bet you've heard something about the new Annette Benning- Julianne Moore-Mark Ruffalo movie called The Kids are All Right, at least enough to know it's about kids with two moms who find their dad, and it's getting rave reviews. (That link is to a fabulous website for movie reviews).
But the surprise to this movie-goer was discovering that Julianne Moore plays a fledgling garden designer and that a big chunk of the movie is about the design and installation of her first garden as a professional. Doncha love seeing gardeners in movies? Not since Jude Law played a landscape architect in "Breaking and Entering".
So what do we learn from the garden design+installation scenes in "The Kids are All Right"??
Moore's character is presented to us as a ne'er-do-well trying another in a long line of attempted careers, yet she proceeds to create a beautiful garden her first time out of the gate, so viewers might walk away with the impression that garden design is so simple that even amateurs can do it, and succeed at it. Hmm, not a message the garden designer/landscape architect professions would exactly rally around.
But on the bright side, the customer got what he wanted, he loved it, WE love it, and that's great advertisement for hiring a designer (though maybe not a fledgling one you happen to run across?)
There's also a really interesting small part in the movie - Moore's hired worker, and a very real person.
So, what about the garden? I can't find a single photo of the before OR the after garden in the movie but I can tell you it's somewhere in California, so it looks nothing like the ones we grow here in Maryland. It reminded me a lot of a Los Angeles garden I visited once - my garden designer friend Shirley Bovshow's very own garden. Here's just a taste of her garden.